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Oil ends under $103, squanders gains as US stockpiles rise

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The price of oil fell on Wednesday, as traders digested positive economic news and a decline in oil supplies at a key U.S. delivery hub.

Meanwhile, the nationwide average price for a gallon of gasoline is now $3.45, the lowest since the end of January.

Brent crude futures fell by 20 cents to trade under $109. U.S. crude fell 47 cents to settle at $102.66 a barrel, extending four days of losses that drove it to seven-week lows in the previous session.

The Energy Department said crude oil supplies fell by 500,000 at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for U.S. benchmark oil. Overall, however, U.S. supplies increased by 2.6 million barrels last week, while gasoline supplies rose 200,000 barrels in the week ended Sept. 20. Analysts expected a drop of 1.5 million barrels in supplies of both oil and gasoline, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill.

On the economic front, reports showed Americans stepped up purchases of new homes in August after cutting back in July, while companies placed slightly more orders in August for U.S. long-lasting manufactured goods. The increase in home sales suggested that higher mortgage rates are not yet slowing the housing recovery.


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